My life started to drastically change starting in May of 2018. After I watched Amanchu, a 2016 anime series based on the ongoing manga of Aria author Kozue Amano, I decided that I wanted to take up diving for myself. I worked on getting into shape and have just passed a medical examination, so now I am finally allowed to start taking lessons. This makes it a bit awkward that I decided to finally watch Amanchu‘s sequel and didn’t like it at all.
I stand by most of the points in my review, but I also lauded it as a positive that there was a second season on the way that fans of the anime could look forward to, which I now feel bad about in retrospect. Amanchu Advance is mostly fine, it retains much of what I liked about season 1, continues several story arcs, but it also feels very different from its predecessor in ways I could not appreciate. Most importantly, I was hoping to actually see a lot more diving following the emotional finale of the last season and its OVA.
Amanchu was more than just a show about cute girls going diving, it was also the very personal tale of Futaba Ooki overcoming her anxiety, fears, and pushing herself to keep improving so she could actually start diving with her newfound friend Hikari. Advance does continue this part of the story, but not to any significant degree. There is terribly little time spent in or even near the water, with a lot of screentime instead going to storylines about urban legends, dreaming, and outright fantasy. A whole 3 episodes are dedicated to a bizarre retelling of a classic fairytale, which involves a character so forgettable that I can’t even recall if he existed in season 1 at all.
The storylines are just boring, if I am to be blunt about it. It has characters I enjoy, I can still laugh at the goofy visuals, but that is all carried over from the first season. I didn’t enjoy the emphasis on dreams as a theme that was suddenly more important than diving. I didn’t enjoy the inclusion of Kokoro as a main character because the little brat feels poorly thought-out and it didn’t feel like its inclusion was really adding much to the show. It feels like Amanchu is throwing out every little distraction it can, just so it doesn’t have to actually be about girls learning how to dive.
It’s not a terrible show. It’s still beautiful, well-presented, the characters are fun, and I like its sense of humor a lot. Amanchu was am 8/10 show for me, but Advance just barely makes a 6/10 if I am being generous, all because it commits the cardinal sin of being boring. There was nothing that made me want to outright drop the show, it’s just that I couldn’t wait for it to be over so I could start something else instead.